South Africa’s water department will propose a bill to eliminate “glaring inequalities” in the industry and draft new conservation regulations.
While the National Water Act sought to transform the sector, “95% of the licensed water volume is still in the hands of white commercial farmers, leaving 5% currently allocated to emerging black farmers,” Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu told lawmakers in Cape Town Tuesday. “As we talk about transformation of land ownership, we should understand that land ownership with no access to water will take us nowhere.”
The country’s mines aren’t complying with their water-license conditions, while non-payment for services “is a perennial problem,” Vandalism and theft is also on the rise, Sisulu said.
In addition, the estimated capital investment requirement is R90bn a year over the next 10 years, compared with an annual investment of R55bn on water infrastructure and sanitation, Sisulu said.
To tackle the problems, the department will review its tendering processes, revive a construction unit that will work with the private sector and establish maintenance task teams “especially in the water treatment and recycling stock”.
All investigations into alleged irregularities and corruption will be stepped up and the department will appoint a partner approved by National Treasury to deal with all outstanding reviews, Sisulu said.